The Rise of the Green Retailers 6/24/2007 10:18:47 AM

As lazy environmentalists we want it to be super easy to access the best of eco-friendly and socially responsible products. We want stores to weed out poorly designed and poorly made products. We want them to vet suppliers to ensure that products are indeed better for the planet. We simply don't have the time to do it ourselves.
The new eco-retailers "get it" and are leveraging design and technology to bring consumers outstanding shopping experiences.

Every few years or so, American companies and consumers embrace the concept of green business. We're certainly in the midst of one of those moments right now. But something seems different about our current green awakening.
High oil prices, global warming, the sense that chemicals cause real harm and the earth's resources are indeed finite, these are not so much charitable causes to embrace as they are problems that entrepreneurs can solve. Wall Street and Silicon Valley certainly understand this.

Venture capital firms invested $958 million in renewable energy companies in the first half of 2006 alone. Today's green revolution is being driven by a whole new set of entrepreneurs. The range of businesses is astonishingly wide, from high-tech firms making big bets on the future of energy to decidedly low-tech concerns that are simply determined to find a different way to do business.

As hip, stylish eco-friendly products hit the marketplace; new, forward-thinking retailers are making sure the best of them are easy and convenient to find and purchase. Now that they've seen proof of consumer interest, retailers and manufacturers are going out of their way to clearly label and display anything that's "green," energy-efficient or organic.

These new green eco-retailers strive to:

  • Create opportunities for artisan cooperatives around the world to share their best work by serving as a bridge to the U.S. and other retail markets.
  • Assist artisans by providing access to fair wages, safe working conditions and long-term economic sustainability.
  • Re-invest part of their earnings in the artisan communities or non-profit organizations.
  • Distribute Fair Trade products from Sweat Shop Free and Child Labor Free manufacturing facilities.
  • Implements Recycling programs and/or distributes goods made of recycled materials.
  • Involved in community activities and taking responsibility both ecologically and socially

These are some of the most creative green retailers:

  • Ecoist: The premium online store to find a wide range of stylish, functional, and durable eco-friendly gifts and eco-fashion accessories.
  • Vivavi: Modern style, eco-friendly furniture and home furnishing. Donates 1% of all sales to environmental organizations.
  • GreenLoop: Sustainable bags, belts and accesories.
  • World of Good: Special handmade items from artisan producers all around the world
  • One World Projects A force in reducing poverty, restoring balance in nature, and providing viable economic alternatives for artisans.
  • Viva Terra Eco Living with Style
  • Peaceful Valley: High quality organic clothing & eco-friendly gifts.
  • Our Green House: Natural, organic products for your house and children

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